Philips’s Warm Intimate Massager is the first in what the company said will be a lucrative line of sex toys and will be available on Sept. 16.
The device is nonpenetrative, comes in single and double versions and is about the size of a woman’s palm. It will be offered in packaging that emphasizes the Philips brand name.
The Warm Instant Massager will be released only in Britain to start but will be launched throughout Europe next year. Britain was the guinea pig for two previous and somewhat controversial launches from Philips — a bikini trimmer for women and an all-over body shaver for men.
The company said it believes the European market for sex toys is $390 million per year and growing rapidly. The Warm Intimate Massager will be available at British pharmacy chain Boots and upscale department store Selfridges as well as on Amazon.co.uk.
According to England’s Times online, Philips has been developing the toy in secret for the past two years.
“Before the incubator team overcame the hurdles, they launched a blitz of research into attitudes and behavior,” the article reported. “Mountains of evidence revealed keen interest in a new massager but also reluctance.”
A Philips survey of monogamous couples between the ages 35 and 55 in Britain showed that openness to the idea of using the vibrator was 35 percent.
Of the 35 percent who said they would be open to trying it, 42 percent said they had actually used the product during the survey.
Sheila Struyck, head of market-driven innovation at Philips, said in the article that the Phillips vibrator would be successful because of its appeal to couples and nonthreatening design.
“We found a lot of couples telling us they wanted it but what they were seeing in the market didn’t appeal,” Struyck said. “We were looking for products that wouldn’t replace one or the other partner. With more targeted products one partner feels left out.”
According to the Times, Phillips is hoping to market the toy as a Christmas gift for couples. It is expected to retail for around $125.